Thursday’s game with Stenhousemuir has been described as “enormous” by Stranraer boss Stevie Farrell.
Both sides are battling it out for a place in the top five and the chance to play in the promotion play-offs.
The manager described it as “the business end” of the season, with the next two games deciding if Stranraer achieve the first part of their bid to finish in the play-offs.
Stenhousemuir sit sixth in the table and come into the contest boosted by a fine win over Elgin City on Tuesday night.
At the same time, Stranraer were picking up their own victory with a triumph against Stirling Albion.
Farrell said: “I’ve said it all along that the top five or six – Queen’s Park aside – are very evenly matched.
“There is not much between the sides at all.
“I said it before and after the game and still mean it that they are evenly matched.
“They are decent sides and results prove that.
“They are so tight and there’s only the odd goal separates us.”
Stranraer will welcome Stenhousemuir to Stair Park for the first time since February 2019 when David Smith scored for the hosts in a 1-1 draw.
Tomorrow’s contest will see the Blues again without Grant Gallagher and Lewis McIntyre.
The club captain missed Tuesday’s clash with Stirling Albion through a hamstring injury and will again be on the sidelines, alongside McIntyre who is battling a back injury.
Gallagher is likely to be out for a couple of weeks, which means he will miss the Scottish Cup tie with Hibs on Sunday.
Looking ahead to the league contest, Farrell encouraged his players to embrace any pressure put on them.
He said: “These are not games you should fear.
“We have said that to the players and they should approach the games coming up and enjoy them.
“They are the type of games you want to be involved in.”
Stenhousemuir 2-2 Stranraer
12 December 2021
A slack final half hour saw Stranraer let two points slip as they drew at Ochilview in December.
Adam Cummins opened the scoring when he was first to react to a loose ball following Ruari Paton’s free-kick and Stranraer doubled their advantage from the penalty spot. Tom Orr was brought down and Paton fired home from the spot.
The hosts pulled one back when Botti Biabi fired home after Greig Spence had hit the woodwork. Callum Tapping was sent off for a challenge on Connor McManus but Stenhousemuir would still find a late equaliser. Substitute Cammy Graham capitalised on some hesitant defending to jab the ball home from close range.
Stenhousemuir: Martin, Little, Grigor, Munro, Blair, Tapping, Hodge, Spence (Fairley 86), Biabi (Graham 85), Watters, McGuigan.
Not used: McQueen, Tiffoney, Kane, Halleran, Shiels, A Trialist and Erskine.
Stranraer: Fleming, Robertson, Cummins, Sonkur, McManus, Gallagher (Hamill 59), Millar, Duffy (Stirling 73), Victoria, Paton (Hilton 78), Orr.
Not used: Burns, Devitt, Yates, Elliott and Walker.
Last five meetings
- Stenhousemuir 2 Stranraer 2 (Biabi and Graham; Cummins and Paton (Pen)) at Ochilview Park on December 12, 2020
- Stenhousemuir 0 Stranraer 1 (Cameron) at Ochilview Park on March 16, 2019
- Stranraer 1 Stenhousemuir 1 (Smith; Duthie) at Stair Park on February 26, 2019
- Stenhousemuir 0 Stranraer 2 (Anderson and Crossan) at Ochilview Park on November 3, 2018
- Stranraer 2 Stenhousemuir 0 (Turner and Cameron) at Stair Park on September 15, 2018
Last five games
- WIN v Stirling Albion (H): 1-0 (Stirling)
- LOSS v Edinburgh City (H): 0-1
- LOSS v Elgin City (A): 2-1 (Yates (Pen))
- WIN v Brora Rangers (A): 1-3 (Hilton, Yates and Orr)
- DRAW v Cowdenbeath (A): 1-1 (Sonkur)
- WIN v Elgin City (H): 2-0 (Muir and Biabi)
- LOSS v Queen’s Park (H): 1-3 (Muir (Pen))
- WIN v Cowdenbeath (H): 1-0 (Yeats)
- DRAW v Brechin City (A): 1-1 (Hodge)
- LOSS v Kilmarnock (H): 0-4
Last time out
Lineup v Stirling Albion: Fleming, Robertson, Burns, Cummins, Sonkur, McManus, Hilton, Stirling, Millar, Duffy (Orr 68), Paton (Elliott 88).
Not used: Devitt, Hamill, Yates, Taylor, Victoria, Josh Walker and Jamie Walker.
Lineup v Elgin City: Martin, Little, Yeats, Corbett, Brydon, Brown (Kane 43), Blair, Tapping, Hodge, Docherty (Biabi 75), Muir.
Not used: Grigor, Halleran, Fairley, Watters, McGuigan, Collins and Erskine.
It was just earlier this month that Peter Stuart last took charge of a Stranraer tie.
That came at Borough Briggs, where the Blues lost 2-1. Russell Dingwall and Kane Hester both scored for Elgin City in the second half before Matty Yates managed to pull one back from the penalty spot.
In terms of a home tie, the last occasion Mr Stuart visited Stair Park was at the very end of last season. Russell McLean’s second half strike was enough to give Montrose all three points.
It was January 2020 that the whistler was last in the middle for a Stenhousemuir game. That was at Ochilview Park where Edinburgh City emerged 2-1 winners, despite an early goal for the home side. David Hopkirk scored after 12 minutes but Danny Handling and Scott Shepherd scored to make it three points for the capital club. Andy Munro was sent off in the closing stages for the hosts.
Three weeks earlier, Mr Stuart was in the middle for Stenhousemuir’s trip to Hampden Park. Kieran Moore and Billy Mortimer gave the Spiders a two-goal lead at the break. Alan Cook managed to pull one back straight after the restart but the Warriors could not find an equaliser.
Our special bumper matchday programme for this week’s games at home to Stenhousemuir and Hibernian is available to order on eBay now.
Packed full of features, Beyond the Bandstand features James Hilton on the cover and is priced at £3 + P&P.
You can watch all the action via our Stranraer FC LIVE streaming service, priced at £7.99.
Kickoff is 7pm.
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Photos: Bill McCandlish, Colin Ferguson